The only biblical passage that contains this phrase is Psalm 23:3: “He restores my soul.” This is in the context of the Shepherd who leads His sheep to “green pastures,” “quiet waters” and “paths of righteousness.” As Christians, we are the sheep of God’s pasture (Psalm 100:3), and only He can restore our souls. To restore means "to repair, renovate, or return to a former condition." The soul is the deepest part of us, our spirit and innermost being. Since God is the one who made us, only He can restore us, because only He knows what we truly need to restore our souls.
God has given us the answers about restoring our souls in the Bible—the Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17), and it has the answers and wisdom to deal with everything we will ever face. It can make us wise unto salvation (2 Timothy 3:15), serve to encourage us when we are faint-hearted (2 Corinthians 1:3), and be our guidebook to a life of peace and satisfaction (Psalm 119:97-105). While there are all kinds of books written by men offering worldly wisdom, only God’s Word is truly capable of restoring the soul and offering hope in times of distress.
Of course, restoring the soul is only possible for those whose souls have been redeemed through faith in Christ. Jesus promised rest to all those that would come to Him (Matthew 11:28-30), so it is important that we are sure of our salvation and our relationship with God. Only those who are truly born again in Christ can experience the peace and joy that God has promised in His Word.
Thankfully, God has provided for us when we face discouragement, trials and temptations. He has provided three primary sources of encouragement and strength. First, He has given us His Word to guide us, encourage us and nourish us spiritually. We need to spend time reading it, hearing it preached (Romans 10:17) and most of all obeying it (Psalm 119:2; Proverbs 3:1-2; James 1:25). Second, God has also given us the privilege and power of prayer (Matthew 7:7-11; Mark 11:24-25; John 15:7; Hebrews 4:16; 1 John 5:14). We need to take our problems, our discouragement and our tiredness to God in prayer, knowing that He loves us and cares for us (1 Peter 5:6-7). Third, He has given us other Christians to encourage us and support us (Ecclesiastes 4:9-19; Ephesians 4:29; Hebrews 3:13). It is important to be a part of a healthy, well-balanced church and to regularly worship and fellowship with other believers (Hebrews 10:23-25). Christians who have gone through similar struggles can be a great source of encouragement and help as we go through dark times (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
Discouragement in times of trouble and tribulation is not unusual. Throughout the Bible we see examples of godly men and women who have faced similar situations. These examples can serve as encouragement to us today, because the same God who was faithful to them then will be faithful to us today. It’s helpful to begin by reading the Psalms because King David wrote many of these during the dark times in his life, and they can serve to encourage us when we are depressed, tired and discouraged. Because David had experienced the joy of a soul restored by God, he could pen the beautiful words of the 23rd Psalm: “He restores my soul.”